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Operations Benefit/Cost Analysis TOPS-BC User's Manual


This document provides guidance on the setup and application of the Tool for Operations Benefit/Cost (TOPS-BC). This User’s Manual provides instruction on the installation and setup of TOPS-BC Version 1.0, instruction for using the basic capabilities, and discussion of adapting the available capabilities to the unique needs of an individual analysis. The TOPS-BC tool was developed to support and complement the guidance developed as part of the FHWA Operations Benefit/Cost Analysis Desk Reference project. The Desk Reference provides more general discussion on the field of B/C analysis and methods for structuring analyses to overcome the many challenges often present when attempting to apply B/C analysis to Operations strategies.

Specifically the TOPS-BC tool was developed to provide key decision support capabilities including: 

  • The ability for users to investigate the expected range of impacts associated with previous deployments and analyses of many TSM&O strategies; 
  • A screening mechanism to help users identify appropriate tools and methodologies for conducting a benefit/cost (B/C) analysis based on their analysis needs; 
  • A framework and default cost data to estimate the life-cycle costs of various TSM&O strategies, including capital, replacement, and continuing operations and maintenance (O&M) costs; and 
  • A framework and suggested impact values for conducting simple sketch planning level B/C analysis for selected TSM&O strategies.


Source Organization Location


Operations Area of Practice

    ITS System architecture
    Strategic Planning
    Cost / Benefit Analysis

Organizational Capability Element


Role in Organization

Senior Engineer
Manager / First Line Supervisor
Senior Manager
Associate Engineer

Publishing Organization


Document Downloads

Prime Contractor
Cambridge Systematics, Inc.
Doug Sallman,
Krista Jeannotte,
Rich Margiotta, and
Jennifer Strasser
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